12 December 2014
The Honourable Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation
Dear Minister Stone,
BC on the Move: A Ten-Year Transportation Plan
We appreciate the opportunity to share our thoughts on BC’s proposed 10-Year Transportation Plan, in addition to completing the survey.
There are many important things in the Plan, but we are concerned about the absence of integration with BC’s legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets. Transportation is the largest source of emissions in BC, producing 23 million tonnes of CO2e a year, and the province has made a commitment to tackle climate change by reducing our emissions by 33% by 2020. The government is being supported in this commitment by 180 municipalities that have signed the Climate Action Charter, in which they commit to many transportation-related priorities as they seek ways to reduce their carbon emissions.
It is clearly important to move goods and people safely, to connect and strengthen communities, and that our highways and side roads should be safe, but by 2020, the transportation sector will need to have shed seven million tonnes of emissions, and nothing in the proposed Plan addresses this, apart from support for cycling, transit, and reduced idling by trucks.
In addition to the four listed priorities, we therefore propose the inclusion of a fifth priority, with five strategies to support it, and suggested actions for each strategy (Appended).
5. Reducing BC’s greenhouse gas emissions from transportation
- Continuing to electrify BC’s vehicle fleet
- Partnering with universities and stakeholders to develop a zero-carbon future for BC’s trucks, buses, railways and ferries
- Supporting BC’s municipalities as they work to build more liveable communities
- Increasing BC’s investment in an enhanced cycling infrastructure
- Improving and increasing transit services
We look forward to your response, and we request the opportunity for a meeting in the new year to discuss possibilities to improve the plan.
Guy Dauncey, BCSEA Founder and Communications Director
cc Mary Polak, Minister of Environment
Appendix: Recommended actions to support each strategy
5.1 Continuing to electrify BC’s fleet:
- Renewing the $5,000 incentives for the purchase of an electric vehicle;
- Establishing a comprehensive network of EV charging posts, increasing capacity in line with increased EV take-up;
- Offering additional incentives, for EVs including free charging, free ferry-rides, free parking, use of HOV lanes, and free use of toll-roads. In Norway, incentives such as these led to 10% of all purchased vehicles being electric in 2014;
- Supporting the adoption by Canada of improved fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles, aiming towards an eventual 0 grams of CO2 per kilometre;
- Quantifying the health benefits of reduced noise and air pollution (a known cause of cancer, heart and lung disease) through the increased use of electric vehicles, and of increased cycling and walking.
5.2 Partnering with universities and stakeholders to develop a zero-carbon future for BC’s trucks, buses, railways and ferries:
- Learning from Norway, which is launching its first short-route electric ferry in 2015;
- Learning from Seoul, Los Angeles, Geneva and Winnipeg, which are operating 100% electric buses with in-road or overhead inductive charging;
- Learning from European cities where electric trucks are operating;
- Forming a consortium with Canada’s provinces and railway companies to achieve the electrification of Canada’s railways.
5.3 Supporting BC’s municipalities as they work to build more liveable communities:
- Implementing ‘Complete Streets’ that safely accommodate pedestrians and cyclists as well as vehicles;
- Implementing a suite of Transportation Demand Management initiatives, as inventoried by the Victoria Transportation Policy Institute;
- Encouraging ride-sharing, car-sharing and bike-sharing initiatives;
- Encouraging the use of electric cargo bikes for urban freight delivery, recycling and garbage collection;
- Building partnerships with community organizations to engage local residents in walkability audits with a view to increased safety, liveability and wheelchair accessibility.
5.4 Increasing BC’s investment in an enhanced cycling infrastructure:
- Increasing provincial investment in bike lanes, parking, and cycling skills training;
- Implementing a comprehensive cycling tourism strategy.
5.5 Improving and increasing transit services:
- Developing a source of permanent funding that will permit steady increase in transit ridership, and improvements such as bus shelters, electronic timetables; pre-payment of fares; easy loading for parents with baby-buggies and people in wheelchairs
- Improving coordination with bike-parking, park-&-rides, ferries, trains and airports;
- Encouraging more bus lanes, queue-jumper lanes, and bus-priority traffic signals.